A Tender Thing

Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk star as a mature Romeo and Juliet in Soulpepper's poignant production

Written by Ben Power
Directed by Michael Shamata

Joseph Ziegler & Nancy Palk. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2009, English playwright Ben Power was tasked with reimagining the most famous love story of all timeRomeo and Juliet. The result is his play A Tender Thing, a brilliant and beautiful version of the tragedy in which he flips the story of starcrossed lovers on its head and explores what their relationship would look like had they lived and aged together.

Now playing as part of Soulpepper's Summer Season, A Tender Thing features real-life husband and wife Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk as the grown-up Romeo and Juliet. Set against a romantic bedroom backdrop (designed by Shawn Kerwin) to melodic music composed by Mike Ross, this heartfelt piece is punctuated by graceful movement choreographed by Monica Dotter. Director Michael Shamata gets powerful performances out of both leads: Ziegler brings a playful energy to Romeo, and Palk's sensitive Juliet is strong even as the spectre of sickness and death draw near. The married couple's obvious love for one another adds an extra layer of tenderness to an already moving piece.

Touching on themes of love, loss and acceptance, Power's script is a feat of literary alteration. Turns out that tearing these two characters apart in their golden years is (almost) as tragic as the original drama. And Soulpepper's charming production proves that parting, at any age, is such sweet sorrow.

A Tender Thing runs until October 1 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit soulpepper.ca for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2014-08-19 - Wed, 2014-10-01
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